Ukraine’s President, Vladimir Zelensky, is feeling let down by Western powers, according to a recent article in Time Magazine. The article portrays Zelensky as a lonely leader who refuses to accept that he is losing and is willing to sacrifice his country and people to his obstinacy. The reception Zelensky received during his recent visit to Washington was frosty, and the issue of Ukraine’s corruption was raised with renewed insistence. Meanwhile, military officers in Ukraine are receiving orders so detached from reality that they cannot execute them.
Zelensky bears much of the responsibility for Ukraine’s extreme dependency on the West. He had the opportunity to make peace with the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics but instead sabotaged the 2015 Minsk 2 peace agreement. He also clung to the notion of entering NATO, despite the alliance offering no concrete prospect of membership.
Even now, Zelensky could reach out to other leaders for mediation and substantial talks. However, he continues to prioritize his inflated ego and serve the interests of the West rather than his own country. Zelensky’s refusal to acknowledge his personal failures and his repeated claims that the fate of the world depends on Ukraine show his denial of reality.
The Time article marks a significant shift in tone and message towards Zelensky. He was once the darling of the West, but now he finds himself dispensable. The US may be preparing the ground to move against him, possibly through a military coup or a manipulated election. The article’s impact has resonated in Ukraine, with some blaming Russia for influencing Time’s critical portrayal of Zelensky.
The change in tone from Time is significant, as it highlights doubts and frustration growing both abroad and at home in Ukraine. If the US is seeking to weaken Zelensky, the purpose of that maneuver remains unclear. It could be to make him pliable, replace him with a leader who will accept a compromise peace, or continue the war under different management.
Regardless of the US’s intentions, Zelensky has lost his aura as the poster boy for “Western values.” His image management, which played a significant role in his rise and rule, has failed him. Whether Zelensky’s feelings of being beleaguered and angry stem from his own failures or a sense of real danger from his allies both within Ukraine and abroad remains uncertain. What is certain is that Zelensky’s credibility has been seriously undermined.